Warning: OOC-ness of some of our beloved characters and stand out stoic highnesses. You have been warned!
As you guys have noticed on chapter two, there is a character there who is supposed to be dead. Well, in this fic, there will be a few more characters that aren't dead. Why? Because I need them for my story and I don't want them dead for all I care! Plus! I made some changes on chapters one, two and four. I corrected some information and changed the name of Naruto's bloodline limit, much to my brain racking experience.
: Blue… : - Kyuubi and Naruto talking to each other.
"Blue." – Mental thoughts
Iruka had returned to the academy for he had to get the assignments he had Genma give the kids. Naruto headed back home after the little get together with all his friends. As he fished the keys from his pockets and entered the house his father had for him. He paced slowly inside the house until he found a nice spot by the window. As he leaned back on the window sill, his mind went back with his earlier conversation with Kakashi.
: You know kit I think you might have been too harsh with your words with Kakashi. :
: What makes you say that Kyuubi? You know what he did. You were there, and I'm sure you heard it as well. :
: Yeah I heard it. But we only heard the woman speak; we, or should I say, 'you' never got the chance to hear what Kakashi's response. :
: What for? So I could have my already wounded heart and ego shattered into smaller pieces? :
Kurama didn't answer to that. True, whatever that could have been said that night would have broken Naruto to pieces. But then again, Kurama being Kurama, he just knew that something was off somewhere and just couldn't put a finger on it, in his case, claw…
Naruto remained silent as Kurama pondered on the thought a little longer. Somewhere deep in Naruto's heart, he agreed on Kurama's opinion, but then again, the pain was still there and remained to linger even after four years.
: I never got to ask kit, but why did get Kakashi a present if you hate him that much? I mean, what for? :
Naruto was silent. He didn't know how to answer the question or better yet, he didn't have the answer to the question. It was something he himself had trouble answering. He had broken up with Kakashi one-sidedly without even bothering on hearing an explanation. Being betrayed by the person you loved and trusted the most was by far the most painful thing in the world.
: I don't know Kyuu-chan…I don't know. :
: You know kit, one of these days you have to confront it with Kakashi. It's inevitable. :
: I hope not Kyuu-chan. I'm not yet ready. It still hurts. :
: I understand Kit. But you do know I'm always here for you. :
: Thanks Kurama. :
: No need to thank me, kit… There's no need. :
And with that, they settled in the comfortable silence as Naruto lingered, sitting by the window sill.
"Well, I better head towards Tsunade-nee-san's office." Naruto said to himself as he removed the first layer of his clothing to reveal his ANBU uniform.
As the sun has set in the west, Tsunade had called for Naruto to begin the introductions to his new team.
"Are you nervous Naruto?"
"Nee-san, what if they don't like me? Or what if won't get along well with each other?"
"Don't worry about it Naruto, I'm confident that you and your teammates would get along just fine." Tsunade gave Naruto's shoulder a comforting squeeze as a mischievous smirk danced on her lips. Naruto sweatdropped as he suppressed the urge to whine at the woman and ask for any more information.
"Please, Kami-sama, please don't let my teammates be any deranged pervert." Naruto silently prayed.
"Now relax Naruto, your teammates would be here any minute."
Just as those words left Tsunade's lips, a knock resounded as the door opened to reveal two very familiar individuals…
"HAKU!1" Naruto exclaimed as he pounced on the ex-Mist shinobi who had just entered Tsunade's office. Upon pouncing on the said shinobi, Naruto continued,
"Howhaveyoubeenhakuyoulookgreatwhatareyoudoinghereinkonohanevermindthatimissedyouimsogladtoseeyou!" the blonde shinobi said all in one go as he gleefully rubbed his cheek against Haku's who landed on his cute ass, never minding the pain as he chuckled at the cute childlike behavior of Naruto who seemed to be clinging on to him for dear life.
"I'm glad to see you too Naruto and as you can see, I've been doing well. And didn't Tsunade-sama tell you that she allowed me and Zabuza to become citizens of Konoha and at the same time serve as shinobi for this village." Haku smiled. How Haku managed to pick up what the blonde said remained a mystery to the other two occupants of the room.
"EH?!" Naruto immediately looked up and just noticed the forehead protectors adorned with the leaf symbol that Haku proudly donned on his forehead as well as Zabuza.
Somewhere in the Hokage Tower…
"Ah, cut me some slack Itachi and drop the formalities. After all, it looks like we're going to be teammates." Kakashi said as they continued to make their way to Tsunade's office.
Back in the Hokage's office…
"How's it been brat?" Zabuza greeted a shell-shocked Naruto who was still clinging onto Haku and was now staring at him as if he had grown another head.
: Thank goodness I saw Haku first. : Naruto inwardly sweatdropped at the mere thought.
: Yeah, it would have been a weird sight if you were getting 'cheeky' with Zabuza. But then again, he looks nice in Konoha jounin uniform. : Kyuubi remarked as she rubbed her chin.
"Hey Zabuza, you look good in that uniform." Naruto remarked, mirroring Kyuubi's words.
Zabuza grunted in response and huffed out his chest proudly.
"Allow me to translate, 'Thanks.'." Haku and Naruto giggled as Zabuza gave the two a mocking glare. Tsunade on the other hand smiled at their antics. Just then another knock came as the door swung open revealing three more very familiar figures to Naruto's surprise.
The next thing everyone knew was of that two certain shinobis had their swords drawn and swung against the other as the said shinobis' looked fiercely at each other.
"You haven't changed Zabuza. You should have wrapped your whole body in bandages that way I would have mistaken you for a mummy."
"I could say the same. Maybe if you wrapped yourself in Nori I would have mistaken you for sushi." Zabuza smirked as they drew back their swords and started laughing.
"It's good to see you. The last time I heard you were in a group called Akatsuki." Zabuza asked as he maintained his gruff appearance. Kisame waved off his hand and briefly told Zabuza what happened.
"We'll catch up on that later. What are you doing here in the Hokage's office anyway?" Kisame asked, oblivious to the other people inside the room who were staring at them, except for two certain Sharingan users who were glaring at the guy who was currently sitting on the floor with an adorable blonde straddling the said guy's hips. If it were any other person, one would think that something that should be done behind closed doors was happening inside the Hokage's office. Currently, Naruto had his arms around Haku's shoulders and was sitting on his lap with Naruto's legs almost wrapped around his waist.
Finally snapping out of the daze with what had just occurred in the room, Tsunade cleared her throat and gathered their attention.
After realizing what had just happened, Naruto abruptly stood up and helped Haku back to his feet. He then noticed the presence of the other two figures standing by the door.
Kami-sama was not so kind for not answering Naruto's prayers for the choice of teammates: Perverts, yes, definitely. Deranged? Well, slightly in consideration for the two former "Seven Swords" members. If Naruto was surprised, his facial expression never showed any. Instead, his face slid in to a mask of indifference as he faced them. Haku and Tsunade noticed the stiffness and sudden change in Naruto's behavior. This of course also went unnoticed by the other two Jounins
Itachi wondered why Naruto suddenly lost the cheerful vibrant side of his bubbling personality. Kakashi on the other hand, knew that he was somewhat responsible for the sudden change of weather.
"Please don't tell me Kakashi is going to be a part of the team…" Naruto prayed silently.
Tsunade shook them out of their thoughts as she began to explain why they were summoned,
"I have summoned all of you here today to tell you that the six of you are to be part of a new ANBU team that will work under my direct order and of course, I would like you all to meet and know your team captain, Uzumaki Naruto." Tsunade then tilted her head towards Naruto. The rest of the people inside of Tsunade's office were somewhat surprised or to what it looked remotely close to being surprised.
"Eh?! Really? I can't believe it Naruto!" Haku exclaimed as he glomped a highly blushing and somewhat embarrassed Naruto.
"Hmm… So the chibi is our team captain, huh?" Zabuza spoke first.
"Hey, I may be or somewhat vertically challenged but that doesn't mean I won't be to use your ass to sweep the floor!" Naruto retorted whilst glaring at Zabuza.
"I highly doubt it, especially with those girly hips of yours…" Zabuza pensively said as he eyed and teased the blonde.
Complete silence filled the room for five brief seconds before…
"WHAT?" Naruto screeched in a girly-screech kind of way which reverberated within the Hokage's office down to the succeeding floors under the Hokage's office.
And thus the two began throwing a barrage of insults at each other with much intent of defending one's honor so to speak…
On the other hand, while the two continued their non sequitur verbal jousting, the others watched them with highly renewed, morbid fascination.
"Well, I wouldn't question Tsunade-sama's decision but I have to admit that Naruto-kun is quite strong." Kisame closed his eyes in contemplation. "Isn't that right Itachi-san."
Kisame sweatdropped. Well, what did he expect? The moment Itachi did string up together a cluster of colorful words would be the day he finally gotten himself laid. That was in Kisame's opinion. If he even dared to say a word about it he was quite sure that he would become a new recipe at some sushi restaurant in town. The mere thought about it sent dreaded shivers to run up his spine. He was enjoying and loving his new life far too much.
Zabuza and Naruto continued to bicker like kids while Haku tried to calm both of them.
Haku was trying his best to calm two hot-headed men. He even tried using his charms but was completely ignored. It was only then he called for Kisame's attention to help him out as he latched himself on Naruto and placed a foot on Zabuza's chest to keep the two away from each other.
Kakashi on the other hand looked at Naruto with a surprised and longing gaze. Itachi caught this and wondered about what exactly is Kakashi's relationship with Naruto. Was there more aside from the fact that Kakashi was Naruto's former sensei? He just had to ask his otouto when he got back to the Uchiha estate.
Tsunade on the other hand found the situation a bit funny aside from the fact that those two were making a ruckus. It was a new form of entertainment for her, especially since it had been quite a while since she had seen Naruto in such a 'perky' state. But of course, all entertaining shows have their allotted air time and she still had some paperwork to do, not that she was turning a new religion but she just didn't feel seeing it pile up and turn into a another mountain where Shizune would have her slaving the rest of her day. Tsunade tried clearing her throat a couple of times to get their attention. But to no avail. She tried to call out their names and yet again, utter failure… A vein was already threatening to burst as she turned to her last resort unless of course she wanted the windows changed anytime soon.
"URUSAI!" Tsunade bellowed out on the wrangling duo as she slammed her hands on the smooth surface of her table making some of the neatly piled papers and scrolls jump slightly at the sudden impact, it was a miracle that her table didn't split in half.
They were finally broken out of their musings when the Hokage's shrill voice almost blew up their eardrums, most likely because no one, especially the bickering two paid her any attention where Haku was already close to doing an acrobatic stance just to keep the two from strangling the life out of the other while Kisame tried to restrain a highly livid Zabuza for reasons better left unsaid. The four of them froze in mid-action to stare at the fuming Hokage while Itachi and Kakashi only turned their heads to look at her while remaining impeccably cool despite being in the same room which was close to being set under fire.
"Do I have your undivided attention now?" It was more stated as a fact more than a question for it promised pain in the very near future if they didn't behave. The four who was being addressed quickly straightened themselves up and nodded their heads eagerly like good little boys about to receive their reward. The look on Tsunade's face was a sure fire hit to rival and make any hard ass Feudal Lord or Yakuza leader to piss their pants off and cower in shame.
It was also the same moment that Jiraiya decided to drop in and check on Naruto and his new team.
"Yo! Did I miss anything?" Jiraiya greeted as he settled himself near Tsunade's right hand side.
"Not much, we were just getting started." Tsunade replied as she took a deep breath and sat back on her chair.
"Hey Ero-sennin, what happened to your eye?" Naruto asked when he noticed the colorful bruise around Jiraiya's right eye. He didn't dare ask why the man was a tad bit pale. He concluded that it had something to do with loosing too much blood somewhere around the hot springs.
Jiraiya harrumphed as he started to explain,
"This," he motioned pointing to his right eye, "was courtesy of the old hag here. She had the decency to…" Jiraiya motioned towards the said woman sitting behind the Hokage's desk but wasn't able to finish his sentence when Tsunade punched-smacked him yet again. The other occupants of the room stood in the room frozen with dumbfounded silence when they saw Jiraiya sail towards the right side wall of the office. 2
Tsunade's fist landed on his left eye this time, which was sure enough to complement the other black eye. Thankfully though, he didn't go sailing through the roofs to land somewhere near the hot springs for the second time that day. The only remaining evidence of the sheer power Tsunade possessed was Jiraiya's silhouette on the cracked and almost crumbling wall. The six other men in the room quickly turned their eyes back to the woman who was massaging her left shoulder.
"I think I just heard a huge sound…" Naruto said in a somewhat shaky voice…
"Ahh, my right hand and shoulder hurts so much that it feels as if I had just punched away the biggest creature in the face of the earth. My right shoulder feels stiff; I must be working myself too hard." Tsunade said as she made rotating movements with her shoulder making a few cracking noises. The occupants of the room sweatdropped, they didn't dare make any comments on that.
Naruto quickly reminded himself just how strong and scary the said woman was especially when pissed off. Naruto also reminded himself that this woman was Sakura's sensei and thus, insert mental picture: Sakura plus a healthy dose of madness equals the power of god.
Being somewhat in the same mainstream with the blonde, Zabuza, Kisame, Kakashi, Itachi and Haku had given the Hokage a new level of respect and at the same time mentally agreed that the said woman and village leader was not someone to be messed with unless they had some serious death wish of some sort, insert mental picture: Tsunade plus being royally pissed off plus "Old Hag" comment equals Judgment Day, a.k.a. Apocalypse now…
"Hmm? Jiraiya what are you doing there?" Tsunade asked nonchalantly as if nothing happened. Naruto, having more experience being around with the two sannin, approached Jiraiya and started poking him to check for any signs of life.
"Oi, Ero-sennin, you okay?" Naruto said asked the slightly dazed sannin.
"Ugh… What happened?" Jiraiya slowly spoke as he touched his left eye where the pain was slowly growing. He then looked at Tsunade accusingly before dropping it off. He didn't want parts of his body go missing any time soon.
"Ne, Ero-sennin how many fingers do you see?"
"Three. Now shut up." Jiraiya said as he stood up and made sure he was more than an arm's length away from the slug-sannin.
The occupants of the room started to discuss about the team dynamics and upcoming missions that they had to take. As Tsunade briefed them of their first team mission which mainly consisted of a two week spying on Orochimaru's movements and taking out a group of bandits and rogue shinobis near the borderline of Konoha and Rice Country, Naruto couldn't help but drift off from the topic from time to time. He was not ready to deal with Kakashi. He knew that the said man had not yet closed the topic between the two of them. He just knew it from the time he turned his back to him at the bridge to the moment he met his eyes when he entered the Godaime's office.
Eventually, after a few more discussions and explanations, Tsunade began to wrap everything up.
: Kit, snap out of it. Tsunade is about to end the meeting. : Kyuubi shook her vessel out his shell back to the real world.
"You will leave for your mission ten days from now. If you have any more questions, voice them out now, if not refer to your captain so he can relay it to me and confirm whatever your concerns might be." Tsunade leveled out after she discussed the facts to them. She had noticed Naruto zoning out from time to time during their discussion and needed to talk to Jiraiya privately.
"Well, if there's nothing else, why don't you lot go somewhere. Do some catching up, more or less do some bonding time."
"Huh?" Naruto eyed Tsunade trying to confirm if heard her right.
"I said, do some "getting to know you" somewhere, probably over dinner since it's close to six in the evening already."
"But we already know each other." Naruto tried to reason.
"Actually I still hadn't had the pleasure of knowing Kisame-san and Itachi-san, since this the first time I've really seen them in person." Haku piped up enthusiastically, quickly crushing Naruto's intentions of spending the rest of the night brooding and plunging himself in some serious conversation with Kyuubi regarding how messed up his life can and would be.
"Well, now that's settled, why don't you guys move along. We'll join you later for a little get together. I heard from Iruka that you and rookies had a little reunion earlier." Jiraiya smiled. He already knew what was going on inside Naruto's head. Jiraiya knew what was going on Tsunade's head at that time. They needed to talk.
"That kid thinks way too much for his own good." Jiraiya said to himself.
All of them bowed to the Hokage and started to file out the room with Haku dragging Naruto along and Kisame pushing the ever stoic Itachi out of the door while he managed to haul Zabuza and Kakashi with him on the way out. Once all of them were out and the door shut close, Tsunade spoke, her eyes glued on the door.
"Did you notice Jiraiya?"
"Yeah, he was spacing out. I want to believe that it's just because he's the captain of the squad and he's a bit nervous because this is the first time he's been given such a responsibility, but he was spacing out more than just once during the whole meeting." Jiraiya said thoughtfully as he recalled the almost troubled expression on his apprentice's face.
"What do you reckon is troubling him?" Tsunade asked.
"I'm not sure about it myself, but at one moment there, he had that same look on his face back when he asked to take him along with me." Jiraiya crossed his arms as he leaned back the wall.
"I was hoping those two had patched things up when I mentioned to Kakashi that Naruto was already back. But from the looks of it, they even haven't made ends meet. Do you think I really made the right decision in putting those two in the same team?" Tsunade sighed.
"Yes you did, in technical terms since both of them were in the same team during Naruto's genin years. Somehow, I believe that those two will work things out no matter how complicated their issues are, they just have to… Tsunade, I've asked you this before, just what exactly was Kakashi and Naruto's relationship was? I have that nagging feeling that it was more than just that teacher-student thing." Jiraiya said as he glanced at Tsunade who was leaning against her desk, with head resting on her delicate interwoven fingers.
"I'm not sure of this myself, but from what I surmise, they were lovers. From the way that Kakashi reacted earlier and how he longingly looked at Naruto the moment he saw him when he entered the room. I have the feeling he's somewhat connected to why Naruto left in the first place." Tsunade deduced as she closing her eyes in deep thought.
"…Kids these days…" Jiraiya shrugged. "Well, we better catch up with them, I get the feeling this will be an interesting night." Jiraiya offered with a smile.
"We better find Shizune and Orochimaru, I'm sure she'd love to join and besides, Orochimaru will have both of our hides if we don't tell him and Shizune will hide all of my sake of I suddenly disappear without telling her." Tsunade shook her head as both she and Jiraiya headed filed out her office.
Authoress' Note (2):
Again, for those who skived the first note and immediately dived into reading: I made some changes and corrections from chapter 1 to 7. Thank you…
Now, you know the drill: give me some love and review.
1 As I've said before, I would be adding already deceased characters in my fic. Why? Because I need them so. Period.
2 I deliberately said right side, however if I were to describe it in the POV of the occupants of the room, it would be "he sailed to the left" since it was the direction where their heads turned. (:þ)